Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

7) Write Your Paper: Book Reviews

A University of Lethbridge Library guide to common writing assignments.


Books on Book Reviews

How to Write a Book Review

What is a book review?

A book review is a type of critique. In addition to summarizing what a book is about, a book review may analyze the book's main themes, evaluate the book's contents, or express the reviewer's reactions to the book.

What should I include in my book review?

Here are a few points to consider when writing a book review:

  • The general topic of the book:
    • What is it?
    • How does the book fit into it?
  • The book's purpose:
    • Why was it written? What did the author hope to accomplish?
      Note: The title, preface and introduction are useful in establishing this information.
  • The book's title:
    • Consider derivation, meaning, suggestiveness
    • Consider fitness and adequacy  or inadequacy
    • Is the title ambiguous or confusing?
    • Does it create a false impression?
  • The book's contents:
    • Type of book
    • Description
    • Narrative (i.e. is it fundamentally chronological, relating characters or events to some ultimate sequence in time)?
    • What are the author's main arguments or ideas?
    • How are they developed? (chronologically? topically? both? other?)
      Note: The table of contents, chapter headings, and sub-headings are useful in establishing this information.
  • The book's authority:
    • The author's ideas:
      • Are key words/concepts defined?
      • Is there internal consistency of ideas?
      • How well are the ideas or arguments developed?
      • Has the author used sources to back up his/her ideas? How reliable are these sources? Is there any apparent bias in the choice of sources?
    • The author's background and qualifications:
      • What are they?
      • What effect do they have on the work?
  • The author's style:
    • Writing
      • Simple or technical?
      • Spare or wordy?
      • Logical or emotional?
      • Other?
    • Suitability
      • To the author's purpose?
      • To the subject?
      • To the intended audience?
  • The book's format:
    • Aids to understanding
      • Charts, graphs, maps, statistics, illustrations, photographs (current, clear, related to text)?
      • Index
      • Bibliography (superficial or thorough? Annotated?)
  • Significance of the work in its field:
    • Relative to the author's other works
    • Relative to related works by other authors
    • Further work that needs to be done in the field
  • Final assessment of the book's quality and impact

Library Help

Research Help Desk

During the Research Help Desk open hours, you can Ask Us a question via IM, email, or text message.

Instant Message: Click Here
Email: Click Here
Phone: 403-329-2263
Ph. (toll free): 877-382-7113
Text: 780-666-4622

Library Hours